SILO – A much anticipated early season showdown between Bryan County rivals Silo and Rock Creek lived up to its billing as the two split contests Friday night before a packed house at Silo High School.
Rock Creek survived a wild Silo comeback in the girls game, 45-39, thanks to a key steal by Jordan Nelson with four seconds remaining.
The boys game was a back-and-forth affair but six fourth quarter putback baskets by Patch Hamilton, including the final with 1:34 left gave Silo the lead for good in a 61-56 victory.
Anybody that watched the game’s first nine minutes only would likely be shocked over the thrilling finish as Rock Creek looked like it was headed for a romp building a commanding 17-1 lead.
During a key 14-0 flurry the Lady Mustangs scored 10 points in transition off turnovers as the Lady Rebels committed a whopping 13 in the opening stanza.
Lady Mustang catalyst Teeronie McCann was forced to the bench with foul trouble at that point and things turned dramatically with Rock Creek having to drop out of its full court press.
Silo responded in kind with a Kensea Eppler bucket and back-to-back three-pointers from Gracie Lawless and Ryan Herndon sparking a 13-5 surge that closed the first half while trimming the deficit to 22-14.
Danielle Hayden opened the third with a basket to narrow the gap to just six points but McCann had the answer with six consecutive Lady Mustang points.
The Rock Creek lead ballooned to as much as 12 points with five minutes left before Silo began a furious comeback.
Two Nelson free throws made it 41-30 Rock Creek with 3:25 remaining when the hosts reeled off nine consecutive points after 10 consecutive empty possessions for the Lady Mustangs. During that burst Rock Creek turned the ball over seven times, missed a field goal and two one-and-ones.
Herndon scored five points and Eppler added four, including a five-footer with seven seconds to play that made it 41-39.
Rock Creek turned it over again with a foul on the inbounds pass, giving the Lady Rebels a chance to tie or win the game with four seconds left.
Nelson however came up with the steal and hit two free throws after an intentional foul to ice the victory ahead of two more charity tosses by McCann for the final margin.
“When Teeronie went out in the first half we lost our rhythm a little and had to get out of the press,” Rock Creek head coach Wade Johnson commented. “That allowed their size advantage to help them get back in it.
“At the end of the game we quit challenging and going to the bucket for some reason. Take nothing away from Silo though. They did a good job of forcing us out of our game. We came up with a big steal at the end to get out of it though.”
McCann led all scorers with 24 points while Nelson and Hannah Heflin tossed in seven apiece. Lainey Jestis added three, Jolie Perry had two with Macy Converse and Brittany Farrington notching one each.
Eppler sparked Silo offensively with 13 points as Herndon came off the bench to toss in an even dozen.
Hayden, Daelyn Marshall and Lawless had four each as Randi McLarry rounded out the scoring with two.
Hamilton and Dylan Turner virtually terrorized Rock Creek on the boards in the fourth quarter, which gave the host Rebels the spark they needed after trailing five early in the stanza.
Consecutive treys by Sam Roper and Luke Jestis staked the Mustangs to a 51-46 lead with 6:37 to play but Rock Creek managed only one field goal the rest of the way.
Hamilton ignited an 8-0 flurry with three straight offensive putbacks and Austin Thomas added a driving basket to put Silo up 54-51.
Sammy Cahill answered with a three-point bomb from the right wing knotting the score with 3:56 left to end a more than two and a half minute offensive dry spell for the Mustangs.
Karson Dry followed with a key offensive rebound for Rock Creek and canned a pair of charity tosses to briefly put the visitors back in front.
Hamilton however proved to be too much, scoring on offensive rebounds in back-to-back Silo possession that put the Rebels ahead to stay.
Three straight Rock Creek turnovers nearly proved costly but Silo returned the favor twice before a final three-point miss by the Mustangs with 17 seconds left. With Rock Creek attempting to foul in the waning seconds, Thomas put the finishing touches on for Silo with a dagger trey from deep in the right corner.
Both teams showed their offensive prowess while trading the lead back and forth in the first half with Sam Roper providing the big punch for Rock Creek with a trio of threes, including one with 44 seconds left that staked the Mustangs to a 29-24 halftime advantage.
Rock Creek pushed the edge to as many as seven twice in the third frame but Silo would not fold, responding to cut the margin to 45-44 heading into the wild final stanza.
“Patch was limited early with foul trouble which took us out of the game we wanted to play in the first half,” Silo head coach Brett Frank stated. “He came back in the second half and we were extremely active on the offensive glass. I thought our second and third shots were really the difference in the game. Austin Thomas hit some big baskets when we needed them and showed a lot of senior leadership tonight as well.
“Rock Creek is a really talented team. They compete hard, play fast and are very athletic so I think it’s a credit to our kids that we took a step back, took a deep breath and played with a lot more composure in the second half.”
Hamilton finished with 18 points and more than a dozen rebounds to key the Rebels. Thomas tossed in 16 and Turner also hit double figures with 11 points and eight boards.
Jacob Lawless notched six points, Korben Ford had five and Jessen Pratt three.
Roper led the way for Rock Creek with 18 points as well, including three treys in the contest. Dry posted 14 points and Austin Green had a solid game inside with 13 for the Mustangs.
Cahill ended with five points, Jestis scored three with Alex Robinson and Christian McGowan adding two apiece.
Silo senior Austin Thomas skies through the lane for two of his 16 points on this first half drive Friday night. Thomas helped spur a big second half by the Rebels as they posted a big 61-56 Bryan County Conference win.